Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Going to the Dentist...and they think it's stressful for adults!

No we're not prepping for brain surgery! Just a trip to the dentist.

Going to the dentist is no fun for any kid, but it's an event for ours. Nicky doesn't get the number one instruction for success at the dentist "open your mouth and hold still".
All he is thinking is "What the heck are you people doing?", "Why would I want to hold still with this stuff in my mouth?", and "How do I get out of this crazy place?". I bring books and the doctor has a VCR. Distractions and promises of trips for chicken and french fries are my tools to help keep is mind off what's happening or how long it's taking. That said, Nicky has a great dentist and although this visit was not easy, we got through it and Nicky got the care he needed.

About the Day: We were in the dentist office for 2.5 hours. Nicky had to sit for a full set of X-Rays, followed by having a small camera in his mouth take additional pictures and then he was strapped down on the papoose board so he could be still enough to have 3 teeth pulled! The papoose board looks scary, but we've used it with both our dentist and neurologist and it's really helpful when a child needs to be really still. Nicky had to hold very still to have three teeth pulled because his baby teeth in the back would not fall out to make room for his permanent teeth. This was causing the permanent teeth to find a way out and they were poking out of the side of his mouth. His mouth looked more like a shark’s mouth with two rows of teeth than a little boy! I’ve had a few moms’ tell me that our kids tend to have problems with their teeth growing in right. One more thing I never considered.
At one point yesterday he had adults hovering all over him. One trying to get the slides in his mouth, one trying to keep the slides in his mouth and hold him still while one ran and pushed the button for the X-ray machine and my holding his hands so he didn’t smack anyone. Side note: with all of the technology we have today can’t somebody invent a better way to take an oral X-Ray. I hate those slides that poke your mouth. I have a hard time staying still…how the heck do you expect little kids to do it. Can’t believe we haven’t found a better way!
Nicky was stressed and so was I, but it all worked out and it’s much better than the early dental days. We have a great dentist and her team is so patient. Our dentist has a child with special needs, so she really gets it and it makes a major difference in how she views our kids. She loves them and she accepts them and it really shows. He is kind and calm no matter what Nicky does, and so is her entire staff. Nicky feels it and so do I.
I’ll never forget our 1st trip to the dentist.
We were still adjusting to our reality in the world of autism; seizure disorder, behavior intervention, speech therapy, school struggles, occupational therapy, doctors, and all kinds of gastro internal problems. I do remember that the furthest thing from my mind had been dental check ups. Besides brushing his teeth, I didn’t think about them. With all that was going on teeth were not on my radar.
Then he started to only chew on one side of his mouth I began to wonder, was it a sensory issue or did he have a dental problem? One month later Nicky was in a dentist chair, the person standing beside him was not a dentist but an anesthesiologist preparing to put Nicky under so the dentist could work. Nicky had to be fully sedated because at age 5 he was about to have one root canal for sure, a second depending on the severity of the damage, one tooth pulled, two cavities filled and a spacer put in where any teeth were pulled. The procedure was expected to take 1-2 hours. AMAZING!!! It is not typical for a kid his age to have these dental problems but Nicky had been suffering for two years with diarrhea (brought on by food allergies and yet unknown gastro stuff) so Nicky’s teeth were fragile. Not unlike the like the rest of his body, his teeth were not getting good nutrition to develop and they were weak. All things I never considered with so much going on. I was just glad Nicky go to sleep through it and I was now aware that I had to add "Teeth" on my priority list....my very long list. Ugh.